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November 16, 2017
Irish public invited to delve into archival treasures as part of Explore Your Archive


Thursday, 16th November 2017

Irish public invited to delve into archival treasures as part of Explore Your Archive

Explore Your Archive campaign celebrates the role of archives in preserving Irish history

The Archives and Records Association, Ireland (ARAI) has today (16.11.17) launched Explore Your Archive 2017. The week-long campaign, which runs from Saturday, 18th November to Sunday, 26th November 2017, aims to highlight and celebrate the unique potential of archives to tell exciting stories, surprise people and bring communities together.

Run jointly with the Archives and Records Association in the UK, the campaign seeks to encourage people to engage with the items held in archives around the country and discover what life in Ireland was like in days gone by. Participating organisations, both north and south of the border, will open their vaults to display collections of stories, films, photos and other rare artefacts throughout the campaign.

Felix Meehan, Outreach Officer, Archives and Records Association, Ireland, said: “This year marks the fifth Explore Your Archive week and it is fantastic to have more than 30 organisations from across Ireland offering a lively programme of activities for visitors to explore.

“Preserving Irish cultural heritage and making it widely accessible to all – both online and offline – is a key objective for the archiving sector, and an important focus of the campaign. We invite people to visit participating archives in person but also virtually, with many participating organisations hosting online exhibitions of digitised collections that can be easily accessed from home.

“Exploring an archive can take you on a surprising and educational journey and we hope that the campaign will help bring the people and stories of the past to life. From exhibitions on Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde and the Jesuits living at Rathfarnham Castle during the First World War, to children’s workshops and a ‘sort-a-thon’ hosted by the Irish Traditional Music Archive – there will be something for all ages to explore.”

Events taking place during Explore Your Archive 2017 include:

  • Dublin City Library and Archive will host a conversation with artist Gavin Murphy on his research into the architectural and performance history of the now defunct Eblana theatre. To celebrate Explore Your Archive week, Gavin Murphy will donate a copy of his Eblana Theatre Productions Database to the Irish Theatre Archive for public access. 11am to 12pm, Saturday, 18th November.
  • UCD Archives is hosting an online exhibition entitled ‘The finest of men’. The exhibition will feature documents concerning those imprisoned in Irish and British jails following the 1916 Rising until the general amnesty of June 1917.
  • NUI Maynooth Archive will host an exhibition showcasing the correspondence of Sir Edward Baker Littlehales (1764-1825), Private Secretary to Lord Cornwallis (Lord Lieutenant of Ireland) 1798-1801 and Under-Secretary at the Military Department, Dublin, 1801-1819. 20th – 27th November.
  • Tipperary Studies will hold drop-in sessions about the processing of the Murphy Ballinamona (Cashel) Negative Collection which was donated to Tipperary Studies in 2016. Pat Bracken of Tipperary County Council Library Service will show how the negatives were presented and the work which was undertaken to scan the negatives and convert them to online images. 3pm to 4.30pm, Monday, 20thNovember.
  • The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland will host a digitisation workshop. Participants will have the opportunity to digitise and restore a family photograph or special document using PRONI’s resources, while working with the PRONI’s expert digitisation archivist and archive photographer. 10.30am to 12.30pm, Friday, 24th November.
  • The National Archives of Ireland will host a free seminar to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Fenian Rising. Expert speakers will discuss the challenge of interpreting the historical record of the Fenians. 10am to 1.30pm, Saturday, 25th November.

Ambassador for the Explore Your Archive 2017 campaign, historian and broadcaster Dr John Bowman, commented: “The growing appreciation of archival materials can only increase and deepen our knowledge of the Irish past, and it is its diversity which we should especially cherish. The Explore Your Archive campaign is designed to promote an even wider appreciation of our archival treasures. I would encourage everyone to support the campaign, visit their local archives and browse online. A treasure, of course, is in the eye of the beholder, but so many still await discovery.”

This year’s campaign will also see participating organisations take part in a colourful and creative social media campaign with different themes and prompts for each day of the week. Organisations will be delving into their collections and sharing some unique items with their online audiences. The campaign can be followed on Twitter: @archivesireland, #ExploreArchives; and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ARAIreland.

More information on the Explore Your Archive 2017 campaign and the full event programme are available at http://www.exploreyourarchive.org/.

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